A moral panic is something that’s always been associated with technology. Back when television was first introduced and programming started to take on forms that were considered to be outside the social acceptances, T.V was seen to be a way to almost victimise young and influential minds.
Moving into the 21st Century it’s still all #SaveTheChildren in relation to television and it’s programming. But also now in the new era kale smooth epidemic, watching too much T.V will make your children obese and stupid.
I was lucky enough to not have parents that leant too far either side of the fence on this social scare. There were some programs growing up that I was and was not allowed to watch. Of course I remember the banned list much more vividly.
There was the usual Home and Away, Neighbours and The Simpsons. And Degrassi High was a no. As a child I didn’t understand why it was a no, all I knew was it it started at 5.30 which was right before the news, so of course in my mind it had to be ‘adult’. As a 19 year old who never ended up watching it I was still curious about it and wondered why my parents had censored it from me. Conducting some research on the show it’s controversial themes included; AIDS, abortion, abuse, alcoholism, cheating, sex, death, suicide, dating, depression, bullying, gay rights, homophobia, racism, the environment, drugs and eating disorders.
I now understand why my parents choose not to let 7 year old me watch it.
But there is an audience for Degrassi High, teenagers who are old enough and mature enough to understand the content. And to also recognise that the issues explored in the show affect them or someone they know. So I have to wonder, why was the show censored so heavily in some countries?
Sure none of the topics in the above list are very comfortable to discuss. Abortion is practically an unheard topic, and AIDs is still not understood by most people. Racism still happens in high schools and eating disorders are pushed away into the corner as not a ‘real’ disease by some people. But why? And why are shows such as Degrassi High censored for showing something that is the truth. Sure it is uncomfortable, but it’s there. And ignoring it won’t fix any problems.
Also Degrassi gave us Drake, thanks Canada. Who is now looking very ashamed with himself and his choices.
Aired in its home country of Canada, it was not censored, but in America it was and in Australia depending on what channel it had some censorship.
Now depending on what time the show was shown depends on what can be aired. 8.30 a.m isn’t the best time for that show to be programmed, but say 8.30 p.m and the target audience will be watching T.V while younger children would be in bed by then.
So why there is media censorship in the form of regulating content to viewers in issues that are controversial isn’t really effective…
People are always going to find a way (usually a free way) to access what they want. Not that I think there is a very high demand for Degrassi High, but there is for other content., especially here in Australia where unless you have Foxtell, an illegal NetFlix account or are willing to pay iTunes, you’re most probably going to download content illegal. Unless you’re willing to wait almost a year to get access to the next season. And lets be real, no one is going read the next book of Game of Thrones to find out what happens faster (I’m an 8th of the way into the first book after a year and a half, I’ll be 79 by the time I finish the series).
The particular rating system of a country will effect what is allowed to be shown. In Australia there are different classification systems for each state. And these extent to not just television, but films such as The Human Centipede 2, video games such as South Park: The Stick of Truth and music videos like Rihanna’s S&M.
The issue surrounding censoring young minds from real issues needs to be addressed. The removal of the content completely is not the answer, the use of effective regulation and proper implementation laws needs to be addressed. Along with the issues being explored being presented to the intended target audience in a proper way will allow shows to not be removed for the fear of scaring children.
Or parents could just turn the T.V off like mine did.